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The Salgaocar legend feels the Red and Golds deserve to play in the ISL…

Franky Barreto, the first Goan to don the East Bengal shirt, believes that the Red and Golds deserve to play in the Indian Super League (ISL) which is the country’s top division. 

Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) – organisers of the ISL – on Sunday officially announced that East Bengal will be a part of the league from the 2020-21 season.

“I am very happy for East Bengal for making it to the ISL, especially for the millions of fans,” Barreto told Goal while explaining how he witnessed life in Kolkata during his one-year stint with the century-old club back during the 1998-99 season.

There was, of course, Francis D’Souza who was the first footballer from Goa to join a club from Kolkata in 1979 when the forward joined Mohun Bagan and Joseph Machado from Daman who moved from Dempo to East Bengal in 1981.

“I think after Francis D’Souza, no one had the confidence to go to Kolkata, probably because of his experience over there,” said the former Salgaocar defender who joined East Bengal after the famous Federation Cup victory over them in 1997. 

“Seriously speaking, I never thought that I will be playing there only for one year. They gave me an offer for another year, Salgaocar also gave me an offer. To be honest with you, the reason I came back to Goa (Salgaocar) was because I was not enjoying the Calcutta (Kolkata) culture. If you go out, people used to all come and talk to you. There was no social life and being a Goan, I couldn’t enjoy that,” Barreto explained.

However, the player who started and ended his professional playing career with Vasco SC acknowledged that his stint at East Bengal was a good experience. 

“It was the time when IM Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri and all had also come to Kolkata (Mohun Bagan) from FC Kochin. My (East Bengal) team-mates that time were guys like Bhaichung Bhutia, Carlton Chapman, Raman Vijayan, Ratan Singh (among others).

“One thing I realised, it was a good experience. When you play in Calcutta (Kolkata), people from all over India recognise you. It was a good exposure, I would say,” the former India international admitted.


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September 29, 2020
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